Army Life – Dear Dad – On The Move – August 7, 1944


(postmarked 8/7/1944)

                 Lad and Marian – Pomona, CA

Dear Dad: – –

I knew that the minute I put down in writing the fact that “we thought we were going to stay here for a while,” the Army would change our minds for us. Maybe I’ll learn some day that I’ll never know what the Army is planning from one minute to the next. Lad is supposed to leave here Wednesday or Thursday for Flora, Mississippi, and I am going to drive the car and meet him there – or rather at Jackson, Mississippi, for there is not much more than the Army Post at Flora. Jackson is about 20 miles away from the Post, and as it is the capital of Mississippi, it can’t be too awful. Some people must live there. But every report we’ve gotten so far, from fellows who have and who have not been there, say that Flora is nothing more than a h___ hole in the very worst degree. Not very encouraging, is it, but if we go there expecting the very worst we might be pleasantly surprised. I hope so, anyway. Whether this is to be a training center or a staging area or both we don’t know. Last month the Battalion was very “hot” and practically on its way overseas, but things cooled down considerably and we heard that another Battalion had been sent across instead. So, as usual, we don’t know very much about what we are doing. But we hope for the best.

It looks as though I’m going to have to postpone my very muchly anticipated return visit to Trumbull. May I have a rain-check, however, so that I may arrive at a later date? The only bright spot in the idea of Lad’s going overseas is the prospect of being with you again – and not just because of the snow, either! Perhaps I’ll be a little late, but I might show up yet.

It is going to take all our available cash to move, Dad, so once again we are going to have to ask you to wait for another payment on our loan. We never seem to have a chance to save for these unexpected trips. They come much too suddenly and often for us to adjust the family budget! We are not sure of Lad’s new address. As soon as we know it, we will send you a card. And although we expect to move from Pomona on Wednesday or Thursday, don’t be too sure of it. Our next letter might still come from Pomona, because knowing the Army as we do, I am not leaving here until I know for sure that the fellows are on the train and on their way.

Mother’s operation was very successful. Already she can see 50% better than before, and the doctor hopes that in three months time, when she gets her glasses, that she will be able to see 100% better. So that is very encouraging, and now that the mental strain and worry are over for her, she should improve quite rapidly. I’m still planning to stop by Orinda on my way to Flora, although I won’t be able to spend very much time there.

With all our love,

Marian and Lad

Tomorrow and Sunday, I will post two letters from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.

Judy Guion


Army Life – Dear Dad, Aunt Betty and Jean – Sitting On A Time Bomb – July 31, 1944

                          Lad and Mariam at Pomona

Dear Dad, Aunt Betty and Jean,

Here we go again!  Life in the Army is very much like sitting on a time bomb. We never know whether we will go off in the next minute, or whether our precarious seat will prove to be a dud.

The fellows have been told that they should have some technical training, so beginning tomorrow,  Lad is going to be teaching a course on the finer points of the Electrical System of Diesel Engines. This should last about two weeks. Actually, it means absolutely nothing, beyond the fact that it will keep the fellows busy! So, the way things stand now, we should be here for another two weeks, but just as soon as I put that in writing, the Army will change our minds for us! Consequently, you now know just about as much of our future plans as we do, and as to their definite-ness – your guess is as good as ours!

Life goes on pretty much the same these days, in all other respects. Lad is back at the Pomona Base now, and doesn’t have to report for work until 5:45 AM. He’s keeping busy, but is not working as hard or as long as he had to when he was at Camp Haan.

We thought we were going to be able to send you another addition for the ”Rogue’s Gallery”, but we were not satisfied with the finished product, so the photographers are going to see what they can do about it. But it will take another two weeks to get the pictures back. But you’ve waited this long for a picture of us together, so it shouldn’t be too hard to wait that much longer.

On the next cool Sunday, when you have nothing else to do, will you look in the top shelf of Lad’s trunk that is in the attic and see if his flashlight is there? It has a black, hard rubber case, with the red tab on it which says, “Approved by Underwriters Laboratory” on it. It is a gas proof and waterproof one, and Lad would like to have it with him if it is there. If you can’t find it in the trunk, contact Babe Mulllins, and see if she knows where it is.

Aunt Betty, I’m sure Ced has been using his most persuasive powers to get you to Alaska. But don’t forget that there might be some question about your being able to smoke those cigars of yours up there. Families, you know, understand these things and make the necessary allowances, but strangers are apt to raise their eyebrows at such goings on. And I’m sure the natives wouldn’t understand at all. They might think you were on fire, and  bury you under an avalanche of snow. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. Besides, who’s going to help me shovel a path to the garage if I come to Connecticut this winter?

With all our love,

Lad and Marian

Tomorrow, a letter from Dan, written from Normandie, almost two months after the D-Day invasion. A fascinating look at that part of the world through Dan’s eyes.

Judy Guion


Army Life – Marian Writes to Grandpa – Basking in the California Sunshine – March, 1944


Marion at Pomona - smiling - in color- 1943


Dear Dad –

While I’m basking in the California sunshine, (not the liquid variety !) and trying to dry my hair, I thought I’d better catch up on my letter writing to the members of the family on the East Coast. I received a notice from the post office at Hooks saying that there was a package there for me, so I hurriedly dispatched the few stamps needed to have it sent out here to California. It should arrive any day now, and my curiosity is aroused as to what it might contain.

I can very readily sympathize with you, Dad, when you try to buy any sort of a gift for these “G.I. Caballeros”. It is awfully hard, I know, ‘cause there is so very little that they can use, and what they can use they can usually get right on the Post. With Lad’s birthday coming up, I am in a dither. Of course, I might hold out on the sweater that I’ve knit? Knitted? Nuts! – finished for him, but as it was sort of promised to him when I reached Texarkana – and then as a Valentine gift – I guess I’d better hand it over pronto, or he’ll begin to doubt my word! If I’m right here with him and don’t know what to get him, I can just imagine what you must be trying to think of when you can’t even see him. But I assure you it wouldn’t do any good so far as gifts are concerned. He has no ideas on the subject, so is none too helpful on that score.

As a passing thought, you asked when my birthday was. It is November 11th – almost the same as our anniversary – so what a wonderful present I received last year – and being three days late made absolutely no difference. US Mails (and males) are unpredictable these days, anyway!

Did I tell you that we received a perfectly delightful letter from Dan, dated February 9th – in which he reveals a certain family dispute over one box of cigars which we neglected to label at Christmas time. I know both you and Aunt Betty will appreciate the letter so I’m enclosing it with this letter. Wish we could see your expression when you read it! (More on this subject in Grandpa’s letter I’ll be posting later.)

Lad had an unexpected holiday yesterday so we went into Pasadena, took care of a couple of business matters – stopped by the Hospitality Center in South Pasadena to say “Hello” and then went in to LA for dinner. These spur of the moment holidays are one of the many reasons why I’m glad I’m not working at a steady job, ‘cause I can go right along with him at a moment’s notice – and it’s always fun.

I am working two or three days a week at a department store, and altho’ I’ve never done this type of work before, I find it lots of fun and just enough work to keep me out of mischief.

My love to all –


Hi folks,

Just a note to let you know that I’m still able to keep going. In your “Universal” letter of February 27th you gave Dan’s serial number wrong. It should have been 31 – etc. instead of 13 – as you wrote. Got a letter from Dave yesterday and he really seems to be enjoying the Army. I’m glad. Well – toodle-oooooo, and love to all. Laddie

Tomorrow, a letter from Alta and Arnold Gibson (Gibby – Lad’s best friend from Trumbull) to Ced. 

Judy Guion

My Ancestors (38 and 39) – Marian Edith Rider and Mowry Addison Irwin

Last June I read about a Challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and I was intrigued. I decided to take up the challenge. Some Ancestors may take more than one week, but I still intend to write about 52 Ancestors. I hope you enjoy reading about My Ancestors as much as I am looking forward to researching and writing about them.

(1) Edith May (Lewis) Rider; (2) Marian Edith (Rider) Irwin; (3) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion; (4) Judith Anne Guion

Homer Marchant Rider married Edith May Lewis on 29 July 1885 at Rider’s Ranch (near Coralitas, CA)

Their children were as follows:

  1. Homer Allen Rider, ,b. 8 Aug 1887 at the Rider Ranch
  2. Marian Edith Rider, b.  15 Oct 1888 at Santa Cruz
  3. Louise Rider, b.  12 Sept 1890 at Westport, CA
  4. Child died at birth
  5. Delo Margaret Rider, b. 7 Dec 1898 at Watsonville, CA
  6. Donald Lewis Rider, b. 16 Aug 1901

Marian Edith Rider was born 15 Oct 1888 at Santa Cruz, CA

She married Mowry Addison Irwin on 28 July 1914 in Watsonville, CA

Mowry Addison Irwin was born in Erie, PA on 16 Oct 1888

Mowry Addison Irwin, Marian Edith (Rider) Irwin, Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion and Alfred Peabody Guion 

They had the following children:

Marian Dunlap Irwin and Homer Addison Irwin about 1920

1.  Marian Dunlap Irwin, born 11 Nov 1915 in Sacramento, CA

2.  Homer Addison Irwin, born 24 April 1917 in Marysville, CA

3.  Margaret Edith Irwin, born 28  May 1920 in Oakland, CA

4.  Donald Mowry Irwin, born 3 July 1925 in Albuquerque,NM

Mowry Addison Irwin passed away on 10 May 1947.  He was a resident of Berkeley for 10 years.  Mr. Irwin and his family had moved to Orinda in 1940.  He was President last year and a Director this year of the Orinda Association and was instrumental in helping to start the Orinda News, a community newspaper.  He was employed for the past 15 years by the Westinghouse Wholesale Sales Co.

Marian Edith (Rider) Irwin passed away 8 June 1958.

Next Sunday I will be posting more information about Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion, my Mother. 

Tomorrow I will be posting a week of the memories of Grandpa and Grandma Guion’s children during their time in Trumbull.

Judy Guion 


My Ancestors (36 and 37) – Edith May Lewis and Homer Marchant Rider continued

Last June I read about a Challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and I was intrigued. I decided to take up the challenge. Some Ancestors may take more than one week, but I still intend to write about 52 Ancestors. I hope you enjoy reading about My Ancestors as much as I am looking forward to researching and writing about them.

(1) Edith May (Lewis) Rider; (2) Marian Edith (Rider) Irwin; (3) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion; (4) Judith Anne Guion

Edith May (Lewis) Rider

The following is a section of a letter written by Edith May Lewis to her daughter, Marian Rider Irwin, my mother’s mother, when she (Edith May Lewis) was in her 80s.

Grandpa Rider’s name was Dickamon Allen Rider.  He was from near Bennington, Vermont – and his older brother was Homer Rider – he had dark, very curly hair from picture – I think like Don’s ( my mother’s brother, Donald Irwin).  Mrs. Harnell, who knew the Riders when they came 1st to Cal. – Said Homer was a very nice looking boy – I think they were 22, 20 and 18 – Homer, Dick and Jesse.  She was very fond of Homer – said he was always kind – thoughtful – so neat and clean – and that the pictures didn’t look at all like him – except for the curly hair – He was drowned in the Feather River (I think it was) tho’ he was a very good swimmer.  The youngest was not well – so he went back home and later settled in Chicago.  The Harnell’s were from N.Y. state, very close to the Vermont line – where the Riders lived – I think the 3 – anyway the two older ones – boarded with them – She (Mrs. H.) was at the ranch for a visit when Alice was a baby

Mine is: born June 21, 1863 – Blue Earth Co., Minnesota

My father, John Jackson Lewis was born April 27, 1825 in Delaware.

My mother, Margaret Ann Wilde was born August 22, 1844 in New York City

Margaret Ann Wilde’s parents were William Wilde born in New York State.  He married Joanne Burke, born in England in 1825.  I will continue to read through the information from various members of my mother’s family together more information about these and other individuals.  I have a document that needs further research but it claims that the riders were descendants of William Bradford, Governor of Massachusetts from 1621 to 1650.  When I can verify the details I will let you know.

Tomorrow I will begin posting a week of letters written in 1944.  At this point all 5 boys are in the service of Uncle Sam.  Grandpa continues his weekly letters keeping everyone informed about the lives of his sons who are away from home. 

Judy Guion

Army Life – Lad Answers Questions About Marian – October 25, 1943

Today, a letter from Lad to his Dad, addressing all the questions Grandpa asked in Monday’s letter. Marian even adds a few words at the end.

                        Lad – 1943

October 25, 1943

Dear Dad:-

Marian (and please note it is spelled with an “A”) has asked me to tell you that this paper is some I borrowed from her, thinking, I imagine, that blue writing paper is not very masculine, but even at that, it is satisfactory as far as I’m concerned. I can write what I wish, and you can read it – so it is satisfactory.

I got your airmail letter today and after discussing proper contents, pro and con, we have come to this conclusion.

Financially, believe it or not, we think we are O.K. We have gone into the matter quite deeply and scientifically and see no need for additional funds. A budget has been worked out, and even being very generous to ourselves, our combined income (about 51% in favor of Marian) covers everything very adequately. Her parents, although I have never met them, seemed to be wonderful, and insisted upon taking care of the wedding. That expense, therefore, is eliminated. A second elimination comes from the fact that Marian does not want an engagement ring. And she is very definite about it. I bought an identification bracelet home from S A (South America, Venezuela to be specific) which I shall give to her in its stead. So, Pop, forget about the financial matters for the present.

I have worn this bracelet continuously since I found it after Mom passed away in 2004. It has only come off prior to surgeries. On the front, the raised letters say”LAD”; on the back: “A.P. GUION, TRUMBULL, CONN.” Notice the two gold nuggets in the chain.


And, like Dick and Jean, since plans cannot be made at present with any certainty, and we shall have to live in furnished apartments for the time being, I think, or I should say we, that the idea of a gift should be forgotten for the present. We promise, however, that when the time arrives you shall be duly paged and solicited. I’d really like to know how Venezuela Petroleum stands, if you can find out anything about it. Marian’s Dad, like yourself, since he was reared at approximately the same time (and I wouldn’t say either of you is “old-fashioned”), gave the impression that he would like to be sure that his daughter will be able to live the life she has been accustomed to. I answered that satisfactorily, I guess, since he said nothing more. And anyway, I have a little confidence in myself, to boot.

Now to answer a few questions from Sunday’s letter–

It will be an afternoon wedding in “The Little Chapel of Flowers” in Berkeley and I definitely will wear my uniform. Uncle Sam is still around. It is, the Chapel, I mean, not a part of a church, but very popular as a place for weddings and if Marian can have the minister she wants, he will be a Presbyterian. I am trying to arrange a seven-day leave, but I think I’ll end up with a three-day pass, since time is so short, we are driving up. The train connections are poor and it is quicker by car, due to the mountains. Marian will be entitled to the allotment, which brings my monthly salary to about $100/month. For the present, I don’t need any of my things, but I’ll let you know, if and when.

Marian is 5’5” in her bare tootsies and is far from slim. In fact, on the plump side, and (just a moment while I asked her) she hasn’t voted for Roosevelt all her life, and she says she very definitely likes father-in-laws with Hay Fever. You say, – “You can think of a lot of other things I’d like to know” – Marian says’ Oh, really?” And I echo her sentiments, – “Oh, really?” If you want to know more right away you’d better ask some more questions. One thing, however, she doesn’t like turnips, and neither do I. Well, Dad, Marian is just making some coffee and a snack, so I’m afraid I’ll quit right now. My love to Aunt Betty and remember me to everyone.


P.S. – Hello, Dad. Things are so very clear to us that we just assume that everyone else knows all the details too – perhaps, by the next three or four letters, all your questions will be answered. Will write again soon.

Love – Marian

Tomorrow and Friday, another letter from Grandpa’s Distribution Center. 

Judy Guion 

My Ancestors (36 and 37)- Edith May Lewis and Homer Marchant Rider

Last June I read about a Challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and I was intrigued. I decided to take up the challenge. Some Ancestors may take more than one week, but I still intend to write about 52 Ancestors. I hope you enjoy reading about My Ancestors as much as I am looking forward to researching and writing about them.

(1) Edith May (Lewis) Rider; (2) Marian Edith (Rider) Irwin; (3) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion; (4) Judith Anne Guion

Edith May (DeDe) (Lewis) Rider


Homer Marchant Rider


John Jackson Lewis married Margaret Ann Wilde (b.  August 22 or 24, 1844 in New York City, New York).

The children of John Jackson Lewis and Margaret Ann Wilde:

  1. Edith May Lewis, born June 21, 1863 in Sterling Center, Minnesota
  2. Alice Jackson Lewis, born September 28, 1866, Sterling Center Minnesota.
  3. William Edward Lewis born October 24, 1868, Pontiac, Illinois.
  4. Frank J. Lewis born February 6, 1871, Sterling Center, Minnesota
  5. Charles Bertrum Lewis born April 8, 1872, Sterling Center, Minnesota
  6. Margaret Lewis, died May 25, 1876 as an infant in Watsonville, California.

Dickamon Allen Rider (b. 17 Dec 1832, Bennington, VT) married Cordelia Eliza Pratt (b.5 Nov 1842, Kaosauqua (or Keokuk Iowa) on 1 Jan 1863, Grass Valley, CA).

Their children were:

  1. Homer Marchant Rider (b. 6 Jan 1869, Nicolaus, CA)
  2. Frank L. Rider
  3. Clara May (Rider) Madiera
  4. Jesse Mildred

Homer Marchant Rider married Edith May Lewis on 29 July 1885 at Rider’s Ranch (near Coralitas, CA)

Their children were as follows:

  1. Homer Allen Rider, ,b. 8 Aug 1887 at the Rider Ranch
  • Marian Edith Rider, b.  15 Oct 1888 at Santa Cruz
  • Louise Rider, b.  12 Sept 1890 at Westport, CA
  • Child died at birth
  • Delo Margaret Rider, b. 7 Dec 1898 at Watsonville, CA
  • Donald Lewis Rider, b. 16 Aug 1901

Next week, I will post information on Marian Edith Rider, my Grandmother and Mowry Addison Irwin, my Grandfather.

Tomorrow I will begin a week of posting letters written in 1943. We Are getting very close to the marriage of Lad (Alfred) and Marian Irwin, my Mom and Dad.

Judy Guion

My Ancestor – Alfred Peabody Guion – Memory Book


On April 2, 2005, a few months after my Mom passed away, my siblings and I organized a gathering to celebrate them and their lives together.  We invited friends from the Marin Amblers, the RV group they had joined, friends from the Marin Power Squadron, friends from the Condo Complex where they had lived for 38 years and Mom’s relatives living in California.  My brother Greg had a friend who put together a slideshow of about 130 pictures, spanning Mom and Dad’s childhood, young adulthood, the war years when they met and married, their lives in Trumbull and their active lives in California.

I purchased a wire-bound journal and created the first page.  All those present were invited to write down their memories of Lad and Marian.  These are a few of the quotes from the 71 pages of memories and tributes.

From Mom’s sister, Peg:

….  Al was always interested in finding something that needed fixing — a big help to me and enjoyable to him.

From their grandson, Tim:

Since I can’t pick just one memory to share (there are so many) I wanted to share a handful of things that will always be with me:

Grandma – going to the park, her keychain money cup, teaching me to swim and her piano.

Grandpa – his lamp timers, reading the newspaper and driving the camper.

I learned many important lessons from Grandma and Grandpa: sense of family, adventure … I get great comfort knowing that they live in all of us forever.

From their granddaughter, Amy:

Grandpa, I miss your tinkering on the back patio and I miss your hugs.

Grandma, I miss your beautiful smile and your contagious laughter.

From their son-in-law, Ted:

I never heard them speak to each other with anything but respect and adoration.  I also realized that I never heard them speak about anyone in a negative tone.  They never complained about anything.

From their niece, Sandi:

I would do something and my mom and dad would look at me and say “She’s a lot like Sis.”  (Marian was known as Sis to her family)

From their son, Greg

Remembering how they lived their lives and maintained their relationships with our family and each other has better prepared me to go on with life and to focus on what’s important in my life.

From their granddaughter, Susan:

When I was 2 years old, our family came out to visit from Connecticut.  My twin sister Colleen and I were to take a nap ….  Somehow we got a hold of some crayons.  Well one thing led to another and well ….  the whole room as high as we could reach was decorated with swirls, lines, and pictures.  My mother was of course upset but my grandma, on the other hand thought …. ART.

From there granddaughter, Collene:

Grandma – a strong, courageous, understanding, adventurous woman.  She approached life head on living each day as she wanted – even if her body sometimes struggled.

Grandpa – a patient, hard-working, gentle man who loved to tinker.  He could just about fix anything.

From daughter-in-law, Euna:

This is my first memory of them, and one that is very dear to me.  It was the holidays and Greg asked me to go to his parent’s house.  I was very nervous, but as soon as we walked in the door, it was like we were already a part of the family.  They accepted my daughter as one of their grandchildren and made no difference between the kids, and that meant a lot to me.

From their son, Doug:

From Mom – a concern for others, a great outlook on life and how important family is.

From Dad – mechanical and building skills, patience and being a precisionist.

From their daughter, Lynn:

(Mom and I) have the same love of the piano.  We both enjoyed “playing by ear” because neither of us had any formal lessons.  We played just for our own enjoyment.  Your genuine respect for all others was always shining brightly and should be a model for everybody today.

From granddaughter, Alisha:

My fondest memory of Nana is of her racing my boys around the courtyard on her walker.  The shrilling laughter of 3-year-old boys as they screamed, “Go faster, go faster Nana” and she did.

From granddaughter, Caryn:

When I was 10 you took care of us ….  My mom was in a car accident and we stayed with you for a month and a half.  Every day was an adventure.  You showed us the sites of California like Lombard Street, the Pyramid building, Pier 39, Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais, Golden Gate Park the luminarias and the Rainbow Tunnel.

From members of the Marin Power Squadron:

We have many wonderful memories of them both.  We will greatly miss them with their winning smiles.

We were members of the Santa Rosa Power Squadron but when we went to Marin Power squadron events, Marian was always at the door checking us in with her beautiful smile and happy attitude.  What a different world it would be if more people had such an “up” attitude as Marian.

Words cannot express the gratitude we members of the Marin Power Squadron have for the work you (Al and Marian) contributed to the betterment of our organization.

From members of the Marin Amblers RV Group:

Marian and Al’s handsome family through all the generations are their “legacy”.

Marian was a whiz with paper, scissors and a staple gun.  She did a fantastic job of making a great outfit for Al at a Halloween Outing ….  She made a Dalmatian dog costume for Al ….  He won the prize.

My fond memory of Marion is at her last birthday party.  She had the nicest smile on her face when we sing happy birthday.  She looked so cute in the Mexican hat.

Al and Marian were the first people we met when we joined the Marin Amblers.  They introduced us to all the members and soon we were on the road enjoying many outings with this great group – Al always had a big smile for everyone and he was devoted to Marian – she was his favorite lady…

Alfred Peabody Guion – the day he was Christened


Marian Irwin and her Great-Grandmother



Lad in Venezuela

          Marian Dunlap Irwin – SFSU – 1937


Lad and Marian on their Wedding Day

Marian, Doug, Lad, Greg and Judy, 1947

Christmas card, 1952


Lad and Marian in California

Marian (Irwin) Guion and Alfred (Lad) Guion

Susan, Caryn, Judy (me) and Collene

Greg, Ted, AAron, Alisha, Amy, Greg, Euna and Tim

Doug, his wife Carol, Lynn

I realize this is probably one of my longest posts but it was difficult to edit the memories and stories that family and friends shared with us in the Memory Book.  I hope you have enjoyed getting to know my parents, Lad (or Al) and Marian, “up close and personal”.

Next Sunday I will begin tracing Marian’s ancestors.

Voyage to California (43c) – John Jackson Lewis – More of the San Jose Valley

This is the last section of the final letter from John Jackson Lewis. This one is  to Edward, dated May 8th, 1851, describing the San Jose Valley and what he can see from his brother William’s farm. This sketch was made by John Jackson Lewis and enclosed with the letter.


Turning our gaze up the valley towards Monterey, the timber prevents our seeing much of the low land, except in the immediate vicinity of our house, that is within two or three miles, but beyond the timber, and distant, perhaps, five or six miles, the hills, comparatively low, but high notwithstanding, indicate that the valley becomes much narrower, and changes its course very materially.  Looking towards the Bay, the mountains fade away on either side, leaving us one place where we can look out on what I shall call the real horizon.

On the plain, in this direction, there is nothing essentially different from what is visible in other directions.  The same vast fields of grass and flowers, interspersed with spots of timber, or lines of it along the streams.  The timber on the plain is almost exclusively white and live oak, but in some places, dense thickets of Willows border the streams.

Distances on the plain are very deceptive.  This day two weeks, after sitting and writing a considerable portion of the day, I felt desirous to take a walk before supper, and pitching on a timbered spots, which I supposed, after making all due allowances, to be about a mile distant, as the extent of my excursion.  Pointing it out to Wm., I asked him if it was much more than a mile distant.  He replied in the negative, and I started.  The sun, I suppose, was about an hour high, and as I walked and walked towards the trees, the sun appeared to be making almost equal haste toward the horizon.  I reached the trees, however, and found several of them to be splendid Live Oaks, with lots of magpies, blackbirds, woodpeckers, and hanging birds hopping about them or flying from tree to tree, making the air vocal with their notes.  I stayed but a short time, and started back on a tall walk; but the sun had gone to rest; in the dusk of evening was upon me as I approached our humble abode.

I met with another rather curious instance of this deceptiveness.  Nearly all of the farm, (as will be explained more fully hereafter) is open to the plains, and the cattle that roam over them will occasionally trespass upon the land under cultivation.  In driving them off one day, I picked up a clod and threw at one that I thought very near to me, but, to my astonishment, it fell considerably short of its object.  I threw again, harder, but it still fell short, and it was only after repeated trials that I found how much harder I had to throw in order to hit anything that I had been accustomed to doing.  One reason of the deceptiveness in this instance was probably the being out of practice of throwing, for two or three months, reasons for other cases are perhaps found in the clearness of the atmosphere and the background of the mountains.  The rectangular figure on my map, near the Monterey Road and on a branch of the Guadalupe Bay, is where Wm. and his partners were farming last year.  one of them, Capt. Winslow, is on it this year.  He rents it, I believe, at $30. per acre.


This concludes the entries of the Diary and Journal of John Jackson Lewis concerning his voyage from New York to California to visit his brother William.

My Mother’s Ancestors will be the next series I post on Sundays. Here is a picture of Edith May Lewis, daughter of John Jackson Lewis and Margaret Ann Wilde.

Edith May (DeDe) Lewis, daughter of John Jackson Lewis.


This picture is of Homer Marchant Rider, Edith May’s husband.

Next Saturday I will begin a series of posts concerning Lad’s Voyage to Venezuela, taking a similar route as John Jackson Lewis during the first portion of his journey, about 88 years later.

Tomorrow my final post about My Ancestor, Alfred Peabody Guion. This will be quotes from the Memory Book that was passed around during the Celebration of Life held for Al (Lad) and Marian Guion.

Next week I will begin a week of letters written in 1944 while all five of Grandpa’s boys were scattered arount the world in the service of Uncle Sam.

Judy Guion

My Ancestors (33l) – Alfred Peabody Guion – The End of the Story


As I sat down to write this post about my Dad and his life with Marian Irwin, I got caught up in reading the entries in their Memory Book.  This Memory Book was passed around at the Celebration of Their Lives we held for friends and family in California.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  In September of 2002, the Marin Amblers monthly outing was a trip to Gold Beach, Oregon.  Dad was 89 (Mom was 88) and my brother Greg and his wife Euna tried to convince them that this trip might be a little too strenuous for them.  Dad’s reply was, “Marian really wants to go.”  Mom’s only response was, “But Al really would like to go.”  Greg and Euna thought they had succeeded in convincing them and came down on Saturday morning with the usual food for the next week and plans to clean the apartment, just as they did every Saturday.  They were quite surprised when they realized Mom and Dad were not home.  Greg went down to the back parking lot where their RV was kept and saw that it was gone.  They had left on Friday, as usual, to arrive for dinner Friday night.

On the drive north the RV had a flat tire.  They didn’t have a cell phone so they couldn’t call for road service.  They sat on the side of the road for hours until someone stopped and helped Dad change the tire.  They finally arrived four hours later than expected.

The group was thrilled to see them and they had a wonderful time visiting with friends for the weekend.  They planned to leave on Sunday and stop at a familiar campground once they had crossed into California.  When they arrived they discovered that the campground was closed for the season.  Not familiar with the area or other campgrounds nearby, they decided to drive another six hours to reach home.  Needless to say, they were both exhausted from the weekend.  I think it took a heavy toll from Dad and he didn’t recover completely.

In December Dad came down with the bad cold and just couldn’t shake it.  In his typically thorough way, on Sunday evening, December 21st, he arranged all the important papers and then told Mom that he thought he ought to go to the hospital because he wasn’t feeling well.  They treated him with antibiotics and on Tuesday he was feeling much better.  A nurse told him that if he kept this up, they were kicking him out on Wednesday.  As he was eating breakfast Wednesday morning, he aspirated something into his lungs and within a couple of hours he was in a coma in the ICU on Life Support.

Wednesday evening (Christmas Eve) when I got home from my last day at work as a seasonal cashier in a department store, there was a message on my answering machine from Greg, asking me to call him.  I immediately called and he explained what was going on.  I told him I would fly to California the next day.  My oldest daughter, Caryn, flew out with me on Christmas Day.

My sister Lynn arrived on Friday and we all went to see Dad in the hospital.  I spoke with his doctor who explained the seriousness of the situation.  He told me it would be a miracle if he came out of the coma and if he did, he would be in a vegetative state.  We had a family meeting when we got back to their apartment.  Mom told us that she did not want to see him like that again.  She wanted to remember him as he lived, full of life.  We made the decision to turn off Life Support.  Since technically I did not have a job to go back to, I told Mom that I would move to California to take care of her.  On Saturday, December 27th, Greg stayed with Mom and Doug, Lynn and I went to the hospital.  We had the staff remove Life Support and I sat holding Dad’s hand and talking to him until the end.

Caryn had flown home but I stayed until New Year’s Day.  I flew home, closed up my apartment, packed my car and drove back to California, arriving January 15th.

For the next year, Greg, Euna and I had our individual responsibilities.  Greg took care of the financial and estate business, Euna provided already prepared lunches and dinners and also cleaned the apartment.  I was on duty 24/7 covering daily duties, medications and doctor’s visits.

In December 2004, Mom developed an infection and I took her to the hospital.  She was there for a few days and was on the mend when she had another stroke.  A few hours later I was with her when she had a seizure.  I held her and told her I loved her and then she was gone.  She joined my father on December 16th, less than a year after my Dad had passed away

Next Sunday I will share quotes from the Memory Book and pictures of their lives together.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1943, the brginning of the Love Story of Lad and Marian Guion.

Judy Guion